‘A de­sire to make oth­ers happy’

Me­mo­rial ser­vice to honor 11-year old Jonah Bar­nett

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - DANIELLE EVER­SON de­v­er­son@cov­news.com

“Jonah was a shin­ing ex­am­ple of how to live your life.’’

So said Pa­trick Bar­nett of his son, Jonah. A me­mo­rial ser­vice for the Cousins Mid­dle School stu­dent, who bat­tled a brain tu­mor for much of his life, will be held at 11 a.m. to­mor­row at High Point Bap­tist Church in Cov­ing­ton.

Jonah Bryce Bar­nett’s jour­ney touched many lives as oth­ers wit­nessed his re­mark­able de­ter­mi­na­tion to live life to the fullest. Di­ag­nosed with a brain tu­mor at 13 months old, he bat­tled can­cer for more than 10 years af­ter doc­tors said he had only a month to live.

The 11-year-old died Fri­day, Aug. 9, at his res­i­dence. The son of Pa­trick and Lyn­ice Bar- nett of Cov­ing­ton, he was a sev­enth-grader at Cousins Mid­dle School.

Can­cer de­stroyed Jonah’s abil­ity to speak and walk, but he learned to com­mu­ni­cate through sign lan­guage and tech­nol­ogy. While at St. Jude Chil­dren’s Re­search Hos­pi­tal in At­lanta last year, he shared his great­est wish: to grad­u­ate fifth grade at Flint Hill El­e­men­tary and move on to mid­dle school.

Af­ter a dis­cour­ag­ing re­port from doc­tors in Oc­to­ber 2012, Flint Hill de­cided to make part of Jonah’s dream come true with a grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony from fifth grade.

In Fe­bru­ary, Cousins Mid­dle School wel­comed Jonah as its new­est stu­dent, at a spe­cial pep rally. He donned an of­fi­cial Cousins hat and bas­ket­ball sweat­shirt and watched the pep rally, served as spe­cial man­ager of the boys’ bas­ket­ball game that af­ter­noon, and also re­ceived his locker at Cousins.

Jonah also served as an hon­orary grand mar­shal for this year’s Spe­cial Olympics, held in April.

On Wed­nes­day, Jonah’s dad said the fam­ily was “heart­bro­ken be­yond words, but we

know how truly blessed we are that God chose us to be Jonah’s fam­ily on this earth.”

“His laugh was con­ta­gious, his smile bright­ened ev­ery room, and his eyes could soften even the hard­est of hearts. From an early age, Jonah had a de­sire to make oth­ers happy,’’ his fa­ther said. “Whether it was pur­chas­ing a gift or draw­ing a pic­ture, Jonah wanted you to know that he was think­ing about you.

“This car­ried over in his sup­port of St. Jude Chil­dren’s Re­search Hos­pi­tal,’’ his fa­ther said. “He rec­og­nized what they did for him, and he wanted to show his ap­pre­ci­a­tion by do­ing all he could to raise money for them.”

“The thing that we will re­mem­ber the most about Jonah, though, was his faith in Christ. Jonah was a shin­ing ex­am­ple of how to live your life: un­con­di­tional love, com­pas­sion, and obe­di­ence. God used Jonah to plant many seeds in his short time on this earth, and we look for­ward to see­ing the fruits in the years to come.”

Fu­neral ser­vices for Jonah were held Aug. 12 at Grace Bap­tist Church, where he was a mem­ber, with John Cad­well and the Rev. Chris Dot­son of­fi­ci­at­ing. In­ter­ment was at Or­phans Ceme­tery, with the Rev. David Mar­shall of­fi­ci­at­ing. In ad­di­tion to his par­ents, Jonah is sur­vived by a sis­ter, Anna; broth­ers, Austin and Car­son; and a host of ex­tended fam­ily mem­bers. In lieu of flow­ers, the fam­ily re­quests that do­na­tions be made to St. Jude Chil­dren’s Re­search Hos­pi­tal, 501 St. Jude Place, Mem­phis, TN 38105.

Sub­mit­ted photo /The Cov­ing­ton News

Jonah Bryce Bar­nett and his fam­ily at his Flint Hill El­e­men­tary grad­u­a­tion.

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